Virat Kohli-led India are gearing up to lock horns with England in the first ODI on Tuesday in Pune. This is going to be the first One Day International India will play on home soil during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ahead of the series opener, an uphill task awaits the Indian team management – finalizing the playing XI. While captain Kohli has already named the opening pair – Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, there are eight more spots to fill.
Former India opener Aakash Chopra has backed the spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav to feature in the series opener. While speaking on the Star Sports Network, the cricketer-turned-commentator said if Kuldeep won’t get a chance in the ODIs then ‘what’s the point’ of having him in the squad.
“You can try what you want in fast bowling but in the spin department you should please play both Kuldeep and Chahal because if you don’t play them here also, then what will Kuldeep do. You don’t play him in the Tests or T20s, if you don’t play him in the ODIs also then what’s the point,” said Chopra.
Chopra further questioned the exclusion of pacer Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar and left-arm off-spinner Axar Patel from the Indian ODI squad.
“The question that comes to my mind is that if Navdeep Saini was in the T20I team, then why not the ODI team. He didn’t play a single match, Deepak Chahar is another name. Axar Patel is in the Test and T20I teams but not in the ODIs, why so?,” asked Aakash Chopra.
The former Indian opener also backed Dhawan as India’s opener in all three matches against England. The latter has been dealing with a rough patch and was dropped from the playing XI after a failure in the first T20I against the Eoin Morgan & Co.
“Shikhar Dhawan should definitely open in all three matches in my opinion because he plays only one format now, so you should give him the chance to open,” said Chopra.